Hot air balloon makes unexpected landing in goat pasture

A sunset hot air balloon ride ended with an unexpected landing in a goat pasture near Redmond.

The ride started in Woodinville. The plan was to land in Redmond, but the wind had another idea.

The balloon ended up off-course and too far south. When the possible planned landing options didn’t work, the balloon pilot improvised.

Louise Stoner said she was out putting her chickens to bed when she heard the roar of the flame from the hot air balloon. She looked up and watched in surprise as it landed in her pasture. Her goats went running.

The balloon carefully touched down. The passengers credited the pilot with a smooth landing.

“We missed a couple spots we were trying for, and this was the first safe landing spot,” said passenger Josh Deutsch. Deutsch is from New York and came to Seattle to visit his parents for his mother’s 75th birthday and Father’s Day. “We had a couple of times where it looked like we were going to run into a tree and then he fires up the gas and pulls a rope, and you’re fine.”

Ruhi Gandhi was visiting from Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and two daughters.

“I think the last five minutes we were looking for the landing place,” said Gandhi. She trusted the balloon pilot. “He was pretty calm. He knows what he does.”

The balloon was carefully deflated and loaded back onto the trailer with the basket. The passengers were loaded into a white van and shuttled back to Woodinville where the ride began.

The pilot from Over the Rainbow Balloon Flights told KIRO 7 he has been doing this for 36 years. He said they ended up further south than usual, which happens a few times a year. He found his best option and landed safely.

He gave Stoner a bottle of Champagne to thank her for the impromptu landing zone. She told him she planned to give it to her children. As for the goats, she told KIRO 7 they were still irritable Thursday morning.